Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Princess Ubolratana disqualified as Thai PM candidate

Princess Ubolratana disqualified as Thai PM candidate

That ends a bold gambit by the anti-military coalition to boost its popularity and insulate itself against charges of being anti-monarchy, by having the king's flamboyant older sister Ubolratana run for prime minister, although her nomination can not be legally withdrawn.

On Friday, King Vajiralongkorn denounced his sister Princess Ubolratana Mahidol's unprecedented bid for political power as inappropriate.

The Election Commission's Monday announcement came hours after the ruling junta, led by Prime Minister Chan-Ocha, refuted online speculation of an impending coup by the current military against the generals who seized power in 2014.

Photographers prepare for a briefing by the Thai Raksa Chart Party at its head office in Bangkok on Monday. Prayuth was the Thai army chief in 2014 and led the coup that ousted a government led by Thaksin's sister.

The hashtag "ThaiCoup" was trending on Twitter with thousands of the country's young liberals fearing a brutal crackdown.

The political hopes of the princess were dashed nearly immediately when her younger brother, the king, issued a terse statement saying his sister's candidacy was "highly inappropriate" and went against tradition and national culture.

Professor Hewison, an expert in Thai politics, added: "These events are probably not over".

Speaking of the former Manchester City owner's attempt to return to an active role in politics, MacGregor said: 'This was an extraordinary strategic blunder by Thaksin, who once again has wildly miscalculated, due to his eagerness to defeat his political enemies and return to Thailand.

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Princess Ubolratana remained loyal to Mr Thaksin and the pair were pictured together in Moscow at the World Cup past year.

Formally known as Rama X of the Chakri dynasty, the King ascended the throne following his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej's death in October 2016.

'[The King] also berated her after the photographs from the World Cup with Thaksin and Yingluck circulated online. That would leave the largest party in the coalition, which is aligned with Mr Shinawatra, still contesting the election, but without an important partner.

Thailand has not had a royal as premier since becoming a constitutional monarchy in 1932.

"Involvement of a high ranking member of the royal family in politics, in whatever way, is an act that conflicts with the country's traditions, customs, and culture, and therefore is considered extremely inappropriate".

The EC rejected TRC's candidate on grounds that royal family members are above politics and can not hold political positions.

It potentially builds a bridge between Thaksin's "Red" shirted supporters and the "Yellow" shirts who are arch royalists.

But controversies over Thai Raksa Chart's nomination are far from over.

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